UCL Injury in an Auto Accident
One of the most important ligaments in the elbow is called the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), which can be injured in an auto accident. The UCL plays a key role in the structure and function of the elbow. The elbow is a hinge joint and provides the forearm with a wide range of motion. This range of motion provides the elbow with a great degree of flexibility to perform a variety of tasks. The UCL has several important functions when it comes to the movement of the elbow. These include:
- Protecting the radius, ulna, and humerus from damage.
- Joining the muscles of the upper and lower arm.
- Connecting the bones of the arm in a unified fashion.
Unfortunately, like other ligaments in the body, the UCL is prone to suffering damage in a traumatic accident. It is essential for everyone to understand how these accidents happen, the symptoms of UCL damage, and the available treatment options.
Mechanism of a UCL Injury: The Symptoms
While bone fractures of the radius and ulna might be injured more frequently, UCL injuries are severe and often take longer to heal. Some of the mechanisms of UCL injuries in an auto accident include:
- A penetrating injury of the elbow from glass, metal, or other debris.
- Damage to the UCL via a bone fragment from a fractured radius or ulna.
- Extreme rotation of the elbow that stretches the UCL to its breaking point.
Those who have injured their UCL will often experience intense pain and swelling of the elbow. They might also notice bruising over the elbow. Some individual might even see a weakness of the forearm with specific movements.
Treatment of a UCL Injury
If an individual presents to the doctor with severe elbow pain following a motor vehicle collision, x-rays and MRI scans might be performed. While ligaments are difficult to see on an x-ray, a torn or damaged UCL is typically spotted on an MRI. If this injury has been confirmed, there are a few treatment options available:
- Swelling and pain can be managed using medications such as Tylenol, Motrin, and even narcotics.
- Those who have suffered mild or moderate damage to the UCL might be able to heal their arm using physical therapy.
- Those who have complete tears of the UCL, or who engage in competitive sports, will need to have surgery.
The surgical procedure that is used to reconstruct the UCL is often called Tommy John surgery. While often associated with major league pitchers, this procedure involves fashioning a new UCL ligament from another band of tissue taken from elsewhere in the body.
Watch YouTube Video: Elbow Surgery. This video follows the story of Michael Perry, a college athlete who undergoes elbow reconstructive surgery after suffering an injury during practice.
Contacting a Car Accident Lawyer
Those who suffer severe damage to their UCL might require surgery to restore function to the elbow. When a loved one needs surgery after a severe accident, the family might be confused and uncertain of their future. For help sorting through these problems, it is prudent to speak with a Sacramento Auto Accident Attorney. An experienced Sacramento car accident lawyer can help families assess all of their options, helping them make decisions during the recovery process.
Auto Accident Attorneys in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Auto Accident Attorney. Those suffering from severe elbow pain following a motor vehicle accident might have sustained UCL damage. If a family member has been injured after an accident, please give me a call at (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly legal advice.
All of my visitors are encouraged to see the list of our verdicts or settlements.
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